Thursday, December 8, 2011

Calling All Students!

The Early Decision notifications are creeping in. A friend of mine was the first to check in with her daughter’s acceptance. I was so impressed when she told me that Muhlenberg actually calls its admitted students directly - but astonished to hear that the college leaves messages on students’ cell phones rather than their land lines! After all, how many students only respond to text messages?

If you're the parent of an ED senior, you will help set the tone over the next few days and weeks. Here are some suggestions:

If your student is accepted ED, celebrate! Short of an honor code violation or disciplinary matter, he or she can enjoy a well earned break from the stress of senior year.

If your student is denied, move quickly to activate the backup list. Forget trying to see any more schools. Your student needs to buckle down and author the most personal, thoughtful responses possible on the supplements of colleges on that backup list.

If your student is deferred, he or she should compose himself or herself, then write to the admissions officer(s) handling the ED I decision, bringing the college up to date on any recent accomplishments and asserting continued interest in the college. The letter should be on task and the tone upbeat.

If your student - deferred or denied - has an ED II option at a second-choice college, it's time to go for it! Don’t count on any deferrals coming through as acceptances in the spring. ED II candidates must submit first quarter grades, so that might be a consideration.

For more details, see my blog postings “The Early Bird Gets the Worm . . . But Should it Apply ED II?” and “After Hitting ‘Submit,’ is it Finally Over?”

Follow me on Unigo or Twitter, @nberler, or write to me,

Monday, November 7, 2011

After hitting “submit,” is it finally over?

This fall, nearly all the students with whom I worked applied Early Decision. Many of them hit the submit button with a sigh of relief, especially here in the Northeast where charging stations were at a premium. (Fortunately, many colleges extended their deadlines because of the power outages.) So now is the process essentially over, or is it just the beginning of the end?

It will be a while until we know how this year’s early application volumes compare to those of 2010. However, consider this advice to deferred students from Christoph Guttentag, Dean of Admission at Duke, published in Jacques Steinberg’s New York Times column:

“The hard truth is that if you applied early decision and were deferred, for most of you, unfortunately, the process is essentially over. Take a look at the defer letter — does it say what the admit percentage is for defers? If it does, take that number seriously. Keep that list of other colleges you’ve applied to close to your heart, because the odds say you’re going to be choosing from among one of them.” (New York Times, 2/9/10)

If your student has applied ED I, now is not the time to rest. He or she should get comfortable checking into an online account assigned by the ED I school. If the ED I college offers an alumni interview, the student should be ready when called. (See my blog “Answering Questions about the College Interview.”) Make sure your student stays out of trouble and keeps grades high between now and the mid-year report. These grades are critical for students who wind up in the Regular Admissions pool. Also, should there be a noteworthy accomplishment (e.g., being named a team captain or winning an academic award.), the student should contact the appropriate rep in the admissions office.

If your student plans to apply ED II, make sure that application is done and ready to go. ED II is a wonderful option, especially for students who do want to avoid competing with Regular Decision applicants. Most ED II applications are due in early January with a decision rendered in mid February. (See my blog “The Early Bird Gets the Worm, but Should It Apply ED II?”)

If your student has already been accepted to a rolling admission or nonbinding Early Action program
, he or she is very fortunate indeed. There is still time to go “fishing” to see what else is out there. Whether it’s a better financial package or a better fit, choice can be a good thing.

The bottom line: no student should be left without a fallback plan. If a student is deferred or declined in mid-December, there will not be much time until Regular Decision applications are due. Make sure these apps receive as much care as an Early Decision I app. For those schools you’ve yet to visit, I would advise taking a virtual tour and checking on in order to narrow down choices. Your student should be sure to load backup choices on the Common App and to draft essay questions for target colleges.

While I hope to hear all good news from parents in mid-December, I also understand that in many cases, parents and counselors may be the ones picking up the pieces after a child is deferred or declined. That’s why you need to urge students to be as productive as possible between now and January 2012. We all know how quickly time goes around the holidays. It seems to go by even faster when college applications are due. But remember that next year at this time, you'll be welcoming your student home for Thanksgiving, anxious to hear about freshman-year adventures and grateful that college applications are part of the past.

Any questions? Contact me at

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Early Bird Gets the Worm . . . But Should it Apply ED II?

It’s mid October, and chances are you or someone you know is in the throes of college applications. To clarify questions you might have about early options, particularly Early Decision II (ED II), I am providing some guidance. Early birds, take note!

What exactly is ED II, and how does it differ from other early options?
Early Decision II is an early application option initiated by some colleges over the last ten years. As opposed to Early Action, which is almost always non-binding, Early Decision II is a binding option, meaning students must attend the college if accepted under ED II. The difference between Early Decision I and Early Decision II is timing. This year, most colleges offering both options ask ED I students to apply by November 15, 2011, and they render a decision in mid-December. The deadline for ED II, on the other hand, is on or about January 1, 2012. Students have a decision in late January or early February at the latest.

Note that the application deadline for ED II is generally the same as Regular Decision. So what is the difference? Under ED II, students will have a decision about two months earlier than Regular Decision applicants (just as colleges will have deposits that much earlier). The college is happy to fill its next class with candidates who want to be on that particular campus.

There are some colleges that offer both Early Decision and Early Action, creating some very nice flexibility for students who aren’t sure of their preferences and financial aid options. At Bennington, for example, a student can opt for ED I, ED II or Early Action. Early Action candidates need to apply by December 1, 2011, and they hear back from Bennington by February 1, 2012.

Why would a student apply ED II to a first-choice college rather than ED I?
Some students – and their parents and counselors – may be concerned that a disappointing junior year transcript may have an unfavorable impact on a student’s candidacy. ED II allows a student to get some better grades and activities as well some late-year standardized testing. (For example, there is a December 3, 2011, SAT administration and a December 10, 2011, ACT.)

Is it ever a strategic risk to apply ED II?
Yes, that can definitely be the case. Transcripts for ED I are current through the end of the junior year. However, ED II candidates must submit first quarter senior year grades. So a student off to a rocky start in the senior year might look better as an ED I rather than an ED II candidate.

Can students apply both Early Action and Early Decision?
Usually, the answer is yes, but students should check the policy in each college to be certain. Also, a few colleges, notably Yale, Harvard and Princeton, have moved to an option known as single-choice early action. This non-binding policy forbids candidates from applying to any sort of early program at another private college, yet they may be able to apply to another college's rolling program. Here’s how Yale explains its option:

• You may apply to any college's non-binding rolling admission program.
• You may apply to any public institution in your home state at any time provided that admission is non-binding.
• You may apply to another college’s Early Decision II program, but only if the notification of admission occurs after January 1. If you are admitted through another college’s Early Decision II binding program, you must withdraw your application from Yale.
• You may apply to any institution outside of the United States at any time.
(Yale website)

Are there any circumstances under which a student is released from this binding agreement?
The answer is yes – for financial aid reasons. As NYU explains, “Students will only be released from the Early Decision agreement if they believe their estimated financial aid package does not enable them to attend. Students must be aware that applying Early Decision will not enable them to compare financial aid packages from other universities. If comparing financial aid packages will be necessary for a student, the student should apply under our Regular Decision program.” (NYU website)

Early candidates are generally treated the same as regular candidates for purposes of awarding financial aid. Admissions are considered by admissions departments, with aid decided by a separate office and using the same required forms and methodologies. Colleges notify accepted candidates of a preliminary financial aid package on or around the same time they are admitted under an early plan provided the students have submitted the required forms in a timely manner. A student needs to agree to the college's financial package when he or she accepts an ED I or ED II offer.

What if a student really loves his or her ED I school and gets deferred? Should that student then apply ED II to his second-choice school or risk going back in the regular pool in hopes of getting into that first-choice college?
This is the question colleges don’t dare answer on their websites! The fact is that colleges admit a larger percent of candidates applying ED I and ED II rather than Regular Decision. When students are deferred after applying early to an elite college, they are often denied admission in the regular round. So using ED II as an alternative admissions strategy with a second-choice college may be appealing. Yet it is a decision the student has to make with his or her family and counselor: the people who know that student best. It is a very emotional decision and not one to take lightly.

What else do I need to know?
Some colleges automatically consider candidates who do not receive a favorable early decision in the regular pool, but others, such as Tufts, do not. Students must check each college’s rules on this matter. A student may not apply ED I or ED II to more than one college.

By the way, a student must withdraw any applications to other colleges once admitted under an ED plan. Also, colleges can share the names of those admitted with other institutions.

Questions? Contact me at I have been awarded Unigo Expert status this fall, including Top Expert in many categories!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Answering Questions About the College Interview

Question: What’s one of the most valuable experiences of the college admissions process?

Answer: The interview, of course!

As if the college application season isn't full of enough uncertainty, the prospect of first interviews is enough to unnerve many a high school senior. These days, college interviews can happen in many places, a result of the sheer volume of applications facing admissions officers. Depending on the colleges your student selects, he or she may be interviewed by an admissions officer on the college campus, a rep in a nearby coffee shop, or an alumnus in a conference room. Some colleges are even using student volunteers or interns to conduct interviews.

No matter who is interviewing your son or daughter, certain rules apply, starting with what to wear. I advise candidates to go with a smooth, preppy look that’s sure to work in any venue: for guys, a polo and khakis, and for gals, a nice shirt and conservative skirt or slacks. The student should know the basics starting with a firm handshake and eye contact. But he or she should also practice with a parent, friend, counselor, webcam or mirror.

Certain classic interview questions are a great place to start. (What are your strengths and weaknesses? Describe a challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it. What is your favorite book? What subjects do you do best at in school?) Every interviewer is different; some use set questions, while others go with the flow. Sometimes the best interviews are those where the applicant and interviewer find common ground, and that can really put the candidate at ease. Regardless of the interview dynamics, however, the student has to be careful with his or her opinions and meanderings. It is never a good idea to offend the interviewer.

Interviewers are always impressed when the student comes armed with a few good questions. Make sure your son or daughter does the same. The questions can be on anything from a tour guide’s comment to the interviewer’s own college experiences. The student shouldn’t hesitate to take out previously written questions or jot down notes. (I find that very impressive.) He or she should bring a copy of a resume (“brag sheet”) which will help the interviewer write up a report. Another professional touch is asking for the interviewer’s business card at the conclusion of the interview. Thanking the interviewer goes without saying.

The interview rarely makes or breaks the candidacy. There are just too many factors that make up an applicant’s profile, starting with the transcript and difficulty of courses. But believe me, if an interviewer sees a student who doesn’t seem to know about the school or indicates a preference for another college, it could cause some serious damage. Would you be impressed with an interview candidate who doesn’t seem well versed on your company's products and services or speaks glowingly of your competitor?

In my 20+ years as a Brown Alumni Schools Committee interviewer, I’ve seen it all. One student got into a car accident on his way to the interview. Another came across the room, sat down on the floor, and looked right up at me before she answered a question. I’ve had students bring paintings, sketches and recordings, all in the hopes of furthering their cause. Your student has to understand that there isn’t always a short-term gain from doing well in an interview and that not all interviews will go smoothly. But the ability to interview well is a skill your student will use forever. That is something to be pleased about.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Filling in the Blanks on Standardized Tests

Fall and spring are busy seasons in the business of applying to college, fueled by more than just the Personal Essay. I get many questions about standardized testing, so I decided to address them at the start of the academic year . . .

The SAT or the ACT? Schools requiring standardized tests no longer prefer one over another. I find my students really prefer either the SAT or the ACT, however. The engineering types and intuitive mathematical thinkers tend to bring home the big scores on the ACT, while all-around strong students and those who prefer language arts tend to do better on the SAT. I recommend that students try both, but they should only repeat the test with which they felt most comfortable. Not sure about which to report? SAT and ACT comparisons are readily available. (Here's a chart from the ACT organization.)

The Writing Component. Keep in mind that both the SAT and the ACT have writing components; the SAT’s comes first and is mandatory, while the ACT’s is last and optional. The jury is still out as to how much colleges look at the essay score. Certainly, the essay serves as a writing sample, so students who are tempted to ask a parent or peer to write his or her Personal Essay should think twice. (None of my students are included in that group.) I firmly believe that students should do at least some practice for this essay, even the talented writers out there. Why? The essay is timed, and that creates discomfort, in some cases causing a student to go off topic. Note: Raters have not been overly generous with scores, although I have had a few students garner perfect scores. I caution students to load their essays with examples − and to come up with those examples before writing.

What to do about SAT Subject Tests? SAT Subject Tests really lend credence to an application, so much so that some colleges and universities (e.g., NYU) will consider them in lieu of the regular SAT. I’m often asked which Subject Tests a student should take. The good news is that a student can take up to three at a sitting and can select which of those scores to report. With the exception of engineering schools, the bulk of colleges do not dictate which subjects to take. Students should be sure to test in their favorite subject areas when the subject matter is freshest in their minds (if possible). They should not sign up in advance to have tests scores sent to colleges but instead wait until they see results. Also, students should not assume that a test should be easy because of its title, especially a test like Math Level 1. In fact, good math students are often so removed from the subject matter that they need to practice before the big event. (The College Board blue book is a worthwhile investment.) Regarding taking Math 1 or Math 2, a student should not submit a mediocre Math 2 test result just because he or she thinks it’s expected. Students should carefully read the testing policy and requirements for each target school.

When and How to Prep? This is an issue which varies depending on a student’s innate ability, budget and choice of vendors. Some students are totally capable of practicing for the SAT or SAT on their own, while others need the structure of a test prep professional. Some may need help in only one or two sections. (Note: Anyone taking the ACT must try a sample Science section before taking the real deal!) My recommendation is to make sure to work with official College Board or ACT materials or those which have been structured to closely resemble them. If enlisting help of a professional, check references and make sure that this person totally understands and communicates the structure of the test.

What about SAT-optional colleges? Some students struggle on both, so for them SAT optional schools might be appealing. Certainly many big-name colleges have gone the optional route, including Bowdoin, NYU and Trinity. (For a complete list, consult That is not to say that students applying to SAT-optional schools shouldn’t bother sending their scores. Good test-takers should publicize those scores to make themselves shine! Those that have had a bad test day or are otherwise disappointed in their scores should tout other strengths inside and outside the classroom to put their best foot forward. Remember, tests are only one aspect used by admissions offices in forming their impressions.

Once a student matriculates, he or she will be glad to have standardized tests over and done with. Knowing, however, that the future is filled with tests of many sizes and shapes, practice in test-taking may pay back down the road.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Essay Writers: Thanks for the Memories!

The end of the school year is bittersweet. Each year, I say goodbye to many wonderful students, some of whom first came to me when they were in middle school. By the time they graduate, these students have gained not only size and maturity but also a sense of perspective that will take them far in life. They know that they’ve survived the rigors of high school and have the skills to thrive during their college years. As I tell their parents, anything that I teach these students is more than paid back by what they have taught me.

What stood out about the members of the Class of 2011 was their essay writing. This year, I had a bumper crop of original essays. I loved the topics. One student equated his approach to problem solving to that of a method for analyzing baseball using in-game statistics. (What did I say about learning from my students?) One of my students’ essays was so wonderful that I submitted it to college expert Bruce Hammond, and I’m thrilled to say that it will appear in the next edition of Fiske Real College Essays That Work. Each time I read that essay – it’s about old movies – I felt as if I were on a journey.

A common theme for student authors was misconceptions. A young lady wrote about the contrast between her tiny handwriting and her real-life self. A student athlete wrote how his imposing size is not an indicator of his values and intelligence. A budding engineer with impeccable test scores decided to focus on erroneous perceptions people had of him for a variety of reasons, from living in Kansas to being an only child. As I said to all of these students, “Only you could write that essay!” Thanks for having me along for the ride.

Note to applicants: Up until now, the Common App placed no word limit on the Personal Essay. However, for 2011-2012, the organization is asking applicants to write 250-500 words. When announcing the change, Rob Killion, director of the Common Application, explained that essays with no word limit proved “far too long, less well-written . . . often skimmed rather than read by admissions officers.” I understand that admissions officers are overwhelmed with record-high volumes of applicants. However, many of my students found that they could readily write about 700 words once they found a topic that was truly their own. For some students, the new rule may present an editing challenge; for others, it will be a relief. By the way, the Common App had a 500-word cap on its essay for over 30 years – long before automated word and character counts became commonplace. (To see the 2011-2012 Common App, click here.)

Another note: Many times, students are tempted to write about serious topics such as overcoming an illness, compensating for a learning disability or dealing with a death in the family. I usually do not recommend that students focus on these topics in the Personal Essay. However, certain cases warrant an explanation, so the Common App tells students, “Please attach a separate sheet if you wish to provide details of circumstances or qualifications not reflected in the application.” That is the place to elaborate on extraordinary circumstances.

I’m writing this blog on the day of the Summer Solstice. We all know that summer is a great time to get fit, spend some quality family time and clean up the clutter. However, I strongly encourage rising seniors to, at a minimum, come up with a list of possible Personal Essay topics, and try to draft the essay by August. After all, the start of school isn’t too far away.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Getting Off Wait Lists: Will April Showers Bring May Flowers?

Here in the Northeast, it’s supposed to feel like spring, but it doesn’t. We’re still waiting. So are scores of high school seniors. They’d like to know where they’ll be going to college in the fall, but they’re uncertain. They’ve been placed on college wait lists.

Two years ago, my neighbor’s son had the good fortune to gain admission to Georgetown and University of Virginia, and he was torn about where to go. Just when he thought he had made up his mind, he heard from Duke, which had waitlisted him. He’s now a Blue Devil (who actually walked on to the lacrosse team that won a national championship). That same year, one of my students was waitlisted by another highly regarded Southern school. During his April break, the student and his mom flew down Southtoured the campus and stopped in at the admissions office unannounced. They expressed their enthusiasm about the university to an admissions officer. A few weeks later, my student was admitted. (Those who read my February blog on showing love may recognize this syndrome at work!)

So there is proof that students can indeed get off wait lists. Should they count on this? Experts say absolutely not. Should waitlisted students sit back and wait for May flowers? Not a chance! If a student really would like to attend a school at which he or she is waitlisted, that student should take action. Here are some suggestions:

• First of all, a reply card is included when a student is notified of a wait list decision. If he or she is serious about the school, he should return the card as soon as possible.
• However, that’s not enough. The student should compose a letter to the Admissions Director or Regional Rep – by name – that expresses his or her desire to attend. If finances are not an issue and the student really wants that school, he should state, in no uncertain terms, “If accepted, I will attend.” I advise my clients to use real U.S. mail or Federal Express to send this letter rather than having the message lost in a sea of e-mails.
• Students who really want to gain admission to a school at which they have been waitlisted should not stop there. They should meet with their college counselor and enlist that counselor as an advocate. The counselor can call the admissions rep – hopefully they’ve established a dialogue during the school year – and reaffirm the student’s interest.
• Should there be a meaningful development (e.g., being named team captain or winning an award), the student or counselor should inform the target school.
• Some students go as far as asking for an additional letter of recommendation or getting in touch with someone influential, such as a member of the board of trustees. They should do so carefully, making sure not to flood the college with information or harm existing relationships with any contacts.

In the meantime, send in your deposit to be sure your student has somewhere lined up for the fall. And remember: as certain as warm weather will eventually come, good things will happen to those who are waitlisted.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mark Your Calendar!

I used to get a kick out of fooling people on April 1st. But since I’ve been in the college advisory business, April 1st has taken on an entirely different meaning. For high school students (and their parents and counselors), April 1st tops many lists of anxiety-producing days because many colleges use it as the decision notification date. In honor of this special day, I reached out to clients to find out what April Fool’s myths were on their minds.

Truth or April Fool: The legacy factor is more important in early decision than it is in regular decision. Truth! Penn acknowledges that legacy status plays a smaller role in regular versus early decision. Rumor has it that Penn opens an office each year just to review the ED applications of legacies but closes it once the early decisions have been made. Interestingly, the Penn alumni website states that two-thirds of its legacy applicants are not admitted – period. A recent study by a Harvard doctoral candidate stated that the “legacy advantage varied enormously: one college was more than 15 times as likely to accept legacy applicants, while at another, the effect was insignificant.” By the way, this same study clarified that primary legacy (a child of an alum) was much more significant in terms of admission than a secondary connection (such as a parent going to grad school at the university or a grandparent having attended).

Truth or April Fool: Schools are need-blind when it comes to admissions. April Fool! According to a February 2011 article in The Wall Street Journal, some schools are more need-aware than they are need-blind. As a result, they may take more international students who can pay their own way. Financial status may also be a factor in taking students off wait lists or when accepting transfers. Among those schools cited in the Journal article were Williams, which increased its international pool, and Stanford, Yale and Dartmouth, which adjusted their formulas for determining aid.

Truth or April Fool: It is easier to get in early than to get in regular decision. Truth! Most research I found confirms that early decision is a good choice for students who know what they want. In his blog, college admissions reporter Jacques Steinberg shared information from “The State of College Admission,” published annually by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. According to the study, the acceptance rate was 15 percent higher for binding early decision than for regular decision applications. School officials “chalk it up” to higher quality in the early round. A consultant cited in a November 2009 Smart Money report agreed, explaining that students accepted early have “first crack at the money.” Incidentally, Harvard, Princeton and University of Virginia have opted to reinstate early options. Despite the argument that early decision is unfair to those who depend on aid, an official from Lafayette College points out that “although early decision is binding, no college will hold a student to a contract if a family determines that the financial aid package is inadequate.”

Truth or April Fool: A thin envelope means “no thanks.” April Fool! Don’t toss those thin envelopes! They could very well contain information about being put on the waiting list. To remain on waiting lists, for example, students may have to return a form or reply card. (If your student is placed on a waiting list, be sure to express in no uncertain terms his or her willingness to attend that school.)

Truth or April Fool: No one gets in off the wait list. April Fool! I know students who are happily enrolled at universities to which they had originally been wait listed. Some students receive phone calls from admissions representatives asking, “If we take you, will you go?” One may argue that this puts a student, particularly one which needs to compare aid packages, in a very difficult position, but these calls really do happen.

Truth or April Fool: Decisions really are rendered on April 1st. April Fool! Many schools will notify students in advance of that date. Students can usually find out the actual date through the Internet. Some schools, however, still use the U.S. Postal Service to send out decisions.

Keep sending those myths! And remember to show your sense of humor on April 1, 2011.

Works Cited and Suggested Reading:

Smart Money, Do Early Decision Students Get More Aid?

The New York Times, The Case for Early Decision

The Chronicle of Higher Education, At Elite Colleges, Legacy Status May Count More Than Was Previously Thought

The New York Times, Early Action Could Aid in Admission, Report Finds

The Wall Street Journal, What to Do As Colleges Cut Back on Financial Aid

Friday, February 4, 2011

In February, Is it Important to Show Your Love?

This brutal winter is all too familiar. Snow and ice cover our yards, driveways, and walkways. We spend too much time indoors. (In my case, that means too many hours at the laptop, and not enough in the workout room!) College admissions officers are huddled up as well. In most cases, they spend the bulk of February reading applications, much to the dismay of their loved ones.

As a parent, you may spend the cold, winter nights wondering where your child will end up. If you’re the parent of a senior, you’re relieved the apps are in, but you might not be able to withstand the tension between now and early April. (Hopefully you’re not doing too much second-guessing.) If you’re the parent of a sophomore or junior, you may be reading Fiske’s, scrolling through admissions blogs, or setting up college visits. As you think about your son’s or daughter’s future standing with the schools on the latest hot list, you may wonder: Do they need to show their love?

Apparently, that need varies by school. At Brown University, for example, showing love isn’t going to affect a candidate’s status. Brown has too many applications – about 31,000 this year (up 3 percent from a year ago, when the increase over the prior year was a whopping 20 percent). In fact, when I attended a lecture featuring Brown’s Dean of Admissions James Miller back in 2008, he made it abundantly clear: too many students love Brown, and showing their love just isn’t going to sway Brown’s admissions officers.

However, there are cases where showing love is very important. A few years ago, a student of mine was wait-listed at a selective Southern school. During April break, the student and his mother flew to Atlanta, walked the campus, and showed up unannounced at the admissions office. The officer to whom they spoke took down some notes about them, and two weeks later, the candidate was admitted. He’s now happily immersed in his sophomore year. Showing his love was important indeed.

In this era of instantaneous communications, I always urge students to know how to reach their admissions reps. Sometimes, students meet these reps in the fall while attending school-specific information sessions. Especially with national universities, these visits are important to the rep as well as important to the student; that rep will subsequently read the applications from his or her assigned geographical region, make decisions about their candidacy, and defend those decisions in front of the admissions committee. So for your sons and daughters, it may be helpful – sometimes necessary – to show their love to those reps. This is especially true when there is a development that could enhance the student’s application in the eyes of the admissions office. This could happen when a student receives a departmental award, wins a leading role in the musical, or is named captain or MVP of his or her team. While we hope that school counselors keep in touch with the reps to update them on candidate news, counselors service many clients. That’s why nothing beats a personal note or e-mail from the student announcing an important development . . . as long as he or she uses them sparingly!

So this month, make sure to show your loved ones how much you care. I, for one, adore all your sons and daughters – as if they didn’t know . . .


Nina Berler
Founder and Blogger
unCommon Apps